The Permaculture Podcast

    1824 – Regenerative Business: Thrive Natural Care

    In this episode co-host David Bilbrey continues to explore the intersection between permaculture, regenerative business, and the paradigm of capitalism by speaking with Alex McIntosh and Mario Garcia of Thrive Natural Care. Together they talk about how a company with a strong ethos can influence their competitors in the marketplace, while still caring for their business partners and customers.

    Listen to this conversation to learn more about how we can change the system from the inside, by modeling our preferred actions for others.


    Click here to download the episode. | Open Player in New Window

    Find out more about the company and products of Thrive at

    Stepping away from this conversation I am left considering the ongoing push-pull between doing what is right and what works for our time and place. As individuals, groups, and organizations interested in the environment and caring for people that often means moving towards an ideal, rather than jumping directly there. We must acknowledge the forces at play, what is beyond our control that limits the viable options, and where we can offer reformatory or revolutionary change.

    What Alex and Mario are doing with Thrive addresses many of those concerns and pushes towards reforming the giant market that is the skin care industry with a radical approach to supporting their providers, while showing multi-million dollar companies what is possible, particularly at scales orders of magnitude larger than Thrive.

    I wish Alex, Mario, and the rest of their colleagues best in reaching their goals, and look forward to David having a follow-up conversation with them in a year or so to see how they are doing.

    What do you think of this conversation? Are you involved in an industry that could use this model to institute change? If you were asked to lean into the work of Thrive, what suggestions would you have for improving their model?

    Let me know. Leave a comment in the show notes, give me a call: 717-827-6266, email me, or send me a letter so I can write you back.

    The Permaculture Podcast
    P.O Box 16
    Dauphin, PA 17018

    From here the next episode is an interview with Pascal Baudar about his latest book The Wildcrafting Brewer.

    Until the next time, may you flourish wherever you live, while taking care of Earth, yourself, and each other.

    Support the podcast on Patreon.
    Make a one-time donation.


    2 Pings/Trackbacks

    1. […] 1824 – Regenerative Business: Thrive Natural Care […]

    2. Sarah KaplanSarah Kaplan
      July 16, 2018    

      Hey, Scott Mann and David Bilbrey. This was an interesting episode. The thing that didn’t connect for me was David’s apparently total enthusiasm for Thrive Natural Care. They are doing all these good things, making it so that farmers grow healthier soil and get paid a little bit more for products…but profit is flowing back to who? I was glad to hear that Mario (the non-investor worker) had “sweat equity,” implying that he owns at least part of the company. Here’s the thing–we don’t want the whole world to look like this. It’s still capitalism. We want businesses like this to be farmer-owned, worker-owned, and/or customer-owned. Like the women’s farmer cooperative that supplies Thrive Natural Care. But Thrive Natural Care itself is not a cooperative…how could it become worker-owned? Or farmer-owned? Could it buy itself from investors? That would make it really regenerative. Here’s a challenge to Alex, should he choose to accept it: build a business that can afford to buy itself from all of the initial investors.

      • July 17, 2018    

        Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I would like to take some time to think about what you have said before I comment. I just wanted to know I saw your comment and I hear what you are saying.



      • July 23, 2018    


        I don’t know the details of where the profit is flowing back to or what the business structure is for Thrive on the U.S. side.
        Those are great follow up questions I can ask Alex. I will say that the care that Alex has taken in creating this company and
        the connection and responsibility for the farmers in Costa Rica are significant steps in the right direction.

        Even if every part of the business model is not perfect, it is a vast improvement and one of the better examples I have seen
        especially for this type of product. I love the co-op model and would like to see much more of it implemented. At this time there
        are many different ways to do regenerative business, and I support all new “experiments” because that is how we will learn.

        As for your comment “Here’s the thing–we don’t want the whole world to look like this. It’s still capitalism.” The whole world
        is not going to look like anything regenerative if we don’t start moving in that direction even if the steps are smaller than
        we would like to see. Regarding capitalism,” it certainly has significant challenges. I am not anti-capitalism but opposed to
        extractive, destructive, profit-first capitalism.

        Can there be such a thing as regenerative capitalism? I think so if that proves not to be true as we iterate on regenerative
        models then we will evolve it into something else.

        I like the way you are thinking about and approaching this. I appreciate your questions. There may be several shades of
        regenerative business between where we are and where we want to be. I do like this one, as outlined above, and look forward
        to the many variations to come. The exciting thing is things are changing. People are doing good work in the right direction.
        It is an exciting time to be alive!

    3. September 4, 2018    

      […] The Permaculture Podcast: On this episode, David Bilbrey explores the intersection between permaculture, regenerative business, and the paradigm of capitalism by speaking with Alex McIntosh and Mario Garcia of Thrive Natural Care.  Listen Here. […]

    1. Regen18: An awesome example of regenerative business! | on July 16, 2018 at 09:21
    2. RegenBeat September Xth, 2018 | ReGen18 on September 4, 2018 at 19:11

    Leave a Reply to David Bilbrey Cancel reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.